“Prodigals come home. The helpless find hope. Love is on the move, when the Father's in the room.”
I can often be found behind the wheel of my car blasting out the song, The Father’s House, on repeat (well, pre-lockdown anyway. Now the song keeps me company on my daily walk).
The song fills me with incredible hope and the assurance of God’s love for me. It reminds me that despite my fears, failures and weaknesses, I have a Father who has poured out his unconditional love over me.
Many of us are familiar with the parable of the Prodigal Son: “But while he was still a long way off, his father saw him and was filled with compassion for him; he ran to his son, threw his arms around him and kissed him.” Luke 15:20. This is a wonderful story of unmerited love and grace: after leaving home, disrespecting his dad, and wasting his inheritance, the younger son in this story returns home hungry, ashamed and humiliated, yet he is met with the loving arms of his father.
Like the Prodigal Son, we as God’s children can know and receive our Father’s forgiveness and acceptance, which means we don’t have to hide in sin or shame. As we come before God in humility and repentance, we can lay our fears, frustrations and disappointments before his mercy and grace.
You may be carrying burdens this week. Perhaps you are facing anger or disappointment at your circumstances at the moment. Maybe you are frustrated with your spouse or children. You might be anxious about the future, facing job insecurity or worried about loved ones. Maybe you feel alone or hopeless. I want to encourage you to surrender these things to your Father who understands your struggles, knows every prayer spoken, and hears the cries of our hearts. Let us all accept his invitation to “lay our burdens down” before him, remembering that he is waiting for us with open arms.
Father, thank you for your perfect and unconditional love for us. Help us to come before you as your children and say sorry for the ways in which we have turned our hearts from you. As we lay our burdens before you, may we experience your love, forgiveness and healing power that set us free to live lives of joy and purpose in you. Amen.
Let’s continue to hold in prayer those in our church family who work in local hospitals, particularly Dr Kate Senger at Ealing and Zoe Ledwith, nursing at Northwick Park.